Shifter Bushing Install
One thing that is a constant when it comes to restoring older cars, is that a lot of parts are worn out. Not only from general use, but over time. Older cars used a lot of rubber type materials for bushing and such were they needed to cushion or reduce shock. The problem with those materials is that over time they begin to naturally break down unlike today’s synthetic poly materials.
One very noticeable area on these cars is the manual shifter. Not only do the shifter cable ends contain rubber bushings, but the shifter base assembly itself has the same rubber grommets that break down over time and use, especially the ones under the hood in the heat.
When the rubber breaks down it causes multiple issues. Not only does the shifter base feel like you can pull it right through the center console at any minute, but you also will miss shift like crazy due to the combined play of the cables and the base.
Luckily this is an extremely easy and relatively cheap fix. At the time I did this fix there were a couple companies online selling aluminum or brass versions of replacement bushings. Not only to replace the shifter base bushings themselves, but to also fix the shifter cables. I went with the aluminum ones.
Now the kits I found for the cables look to only replace the ones on the transmission side, but what I found was that one of the shifter base side cables is the same size and can be replaced, you just end up with an extra bushing but if it’s bad enough best to get it replaced. The other shifter cable bushing at the base is really small and can’t be replaced. I have not had any issues with that smaller cable. Basically with the cables you pop out the old rubber bushing, sand out the leftover material if any is present, pop in the metal bushing and add the clip. Bushing may take some force but it’s just pressed in and usually comes out without too much fuss. I didn’t have photos of the transmission side but it’s the same as the shifter side.
The base bushing are easier. You may be able to do it with the center console in but my hands are not that small. Just unbolt the console, remove the rubber and replace with the metal ones, then bolt it back down. You may need to make some adjustments to the shifter cables now if the slack was bad enough. but you should have nice crisp shifts now.
Today it looks like some companies are offering a type of poly insert for the cable ends which may be a better choice than the solid aluminum cable bushing. Torque Solutions looks to be the ones making them today and a quick search online will usually yield a shop selling them.